Design Wish List for the New Year

I’m hoping some of these will be predictions rather than wishes but design is such a fickle beast that I wouldn’t dare it. I’m sure some of these are on the way out already but hopefully by emphasising it in bold it will bring it on faster. This post came about after mulling over a few websites and magazines I’d come across and after saying to myself over and over “I wish they wouldn’t….”, “Why oh why…??”, “Gee, if I see another design/illustration/photo like that I’ll…” I started to come up with a definitive list of things that I was oh-so-over as well as some things that I wish had never been said. So here goes:

The End of Twee
The End of Twee

The end of twee design. Twee, twee Twee!! Aargh, if I see another cutesy bird, rabbit, deer, swirl, flower, butterfly, rainbow illustration again I will scream and spew at the same time. Girly art done by girls for girls. I know crafty art is big; knitting, cross-stitch etc. has made a big comeback but if girls can’t design beyond preschool fantasies then they shouldn’t be allowed near a computer. Today I hope I have seen my last example of a website set up by a girl designer featuring birds, flowers, swirls and rabbits… Puh-lease!

Australian animals featured in designs as a trend. We see civilians everywhere draped with the Australian flag. Why don’t we see Australian animals celebrated equally? In fact why does twee design have sparrows, deer and rabbits for it’s motifs and yet no-one has come up with an Aussie equivalent?? All we see are Australian designers filling in white space with unnecessary sparrows, deer and rabbits. Why is this? Heads too small perhaps? Too long and thin limbs? Well, let’s see… wombats have big round heads and short legs – they might do twee nicely. Or, what about possums? They can be cute, particularly if you startle them with a flashlight in the dark while they are climbing up the backyard tree. I want this imbalance addressed! Or perhaps by just getting rid of twee design re. above then the situation will re-address itself.

Helvetica keeps on keeping on. I read somewhere that designers were finally, finally, getting sick of Helvetica. Noooo! That cannot be! Why just the other day I was checking out an international design compendium and there it was, used prominently as a design feature in it’s own right on an example of book design. It’s to design what a milo is to a bedtime wind-down. One can’t say the word “design” without thinking of it being set in Helvetica. It’s analogous! No, I just don’t believe it. Having said that I am leaning back from using it just because there have been so many great new typefaces being released. But the end? Never!

The end of photographs where people are holding up a sheet of paper with a logo/design/photo/smart saying on it. Boy, am I sick of this trend. Yes, it was oh-so-new and clever the first, second, even the third time. But the 12th, 20th, and 24th time, no. It’s not clever anymore, it’s monotonous. This example has actually been addressed in the latest desktop magazine by a duo self-publishing a 28 page book – “Try Not to” – when I saw the image in the magazine I had another attack of “OH, blimey, not again…” but then realised they had actually done it tongue-in-cheek to emphasise the exact same thing I was thinking. Stop it, just stop it.

The end of drop shadows. Finally I think we are recovering from the 3D effect and the metallic effect but drop shadows are still hanging on in there. Not surprising really. I still use them; but I hope they are universally used more subtly than before when every logo seemed to be infused with the combined 3D/metallic/drop shadow/transparency effect. Who-hoo Web 2.0!! Which brings me onto:

The return of “graphic” graphic design. Bold use of colour, large areas of flat dramatic colour in graphic shapes maybe combined with some real texture┬áin retaliation to both the Twee and the Web 2.0 design motifs. Actually I think this is why Helvetica might have been thought to have gone away but also why it might just never have left. I’m thinking of cubism and the return to cerebral design without baroque embellishments. Simple, plain design with an emphasis on text, colour, shape and line ie. a return to basics. Aah, sounds like heaven to me.

That I get to use Lubalin Graph at some stage in the year. Ooh, I’ve been itching to use it for a couple of years now and I just can’t manage it. I have seen it in a couple of places but I don’t want it to be too try hard. Oh, well maybe in a couple of decades time it will come around yet again. At least I can use it in my own blog.

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